Catholic Church hates anti-discrimination bill more than RH law, solon says

Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao. Photo from hronlineph.com
Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao. Photo from hronlineph.com.

The Church apparently hates the anti-discrimination bill more than the equally controversial Reproductive Health (RH) law, a congresswoman said Monday.

Speaking in the forum “The Cost of Exclusion: A Congressional forum on the impact of discrimination against LGBTs on poverty and development” at the House of Representatives on Monday, Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao said she has read the position papers of the Catholic Church and other faith-based organizations, and needless to say these were more harsh than those for the RH law.

She said this means Congress would face a more daunting task to pass the anti-sexual discrimination bill than it did when it passed the RH law in 2012. The RH law, upheld as constitutional by the Philippine Supreme Court, institutes reproductive health measures such as contraceptives.

“I think the challenge for the anti-discrimination bill would be greater than that of the Responsible Parenthood law. Based on the reactions from different faith-based organizations, their comments are more harsh than those for the Reproductive Health bill,” said Bag-ao, who is an author of both controversial pieces of legislation.

For her part, the House women and gender committee secretariat Beatriz Sanga said the bill has been reported out to the Committee on Rules for plenary calendar. The committee passed the bill on Feb. 10.

Sanga urged the supporters of the bill to lobby for the passage of the proposed measure to counter the tide of anti-LGBT church sectors who have opposed the bill.

She said the bill had enjoyed support from representatives, but some backed out because of the stiff church opposition.

“Our committee focused on the discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (Sogi). And we really found it so difficult because in our culture, we are
not all accepting (of the LGBT),” Sanga said.

“The Church even told us that God only created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. We’re talking of all churches here against those pushing for this bill, ” Sanga said.

The Philippine House of Representatives is set to debate on the Anti Sogi Discrimination bill, which seeks to penalize discriminatory practices such as bias against employees, refusal to admit a person in an institution, denial of access to health services, and harassment by law enforcers due to sexual orientation and gender identity.

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